Originally written on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 10/30/14
KANSAS CITY, Mo. You brace for the usual jive. Some line about arm strength. Or poise. Or command of the playbook. How Ricky Stanzi is growing up, becoming a man before their very eyes. Instead, Dexter McCluster considers the question for a second, repeating it out loud. "The difference between Ricky now and then?" the Kansas City Chiefs' tailbackreceiver asks. "Yep," you say. "He dances a lot. He likes to have fun." "As in, dance in the pocket? That kind of thing?" "No," McCluster continues, laughing. "Off-the-field, getting-your-groove-on type of dancing." "What?" "He's a funny guy. He's definitely a funny guy." Yeah, deep down, there's a little bit of Joe Montana in Ricky Stanzi from a personality standpoint, at least. Joe Cool was infamous for cracking wise in the most tense of circumstances. During one television timeout in Super Bowl XXIII, the 49ers trailing the Bengals by 16-13, three minutes and change left in the game, Montana grabbed tackle Harris Barton, pointed to the stands, and asked: "Isn't that John Candy?" That's Stanzi. "He's a guy that, when he first came in, you couldn't really read him," McCluster allows. "He always seemed real confident, always laid-back. He's a guy that never shows frustration, never shows timidness. He's always relaxed and comfortable. You always like a guy like that." The most beloved quarterbacks on the planet are the legends, the proven, the untouchables. The second-most are the unknowns, the backups, on the off chance that they might become one day become legends themselves. It's one of the oldest axioms in the NFL: The bums you know can't hold a candle to the devil you don't. Stanzi is a prime example of the latter. The less we see, the more the former Iowa star fascinates us. Other than three preseason appearances last August, in which he threw for one touchdown and was sacked nine times, nobody's really sure what the 6-foot-4 signal-caller can or can't do at this level. "He had no off-season (in 2011), he had no chance in the fall because he had no chance to work on the playbook," notes former Chiefs great Ed Podolak, who called Stanzi's college tilts for the Hawkeyes' radio network. "If he had had a playbook to work with and practice with, I think he would've played toward the end of the year." Barring injury, there's a good chance he'll play before the end of this one. And, given that many Chiefs fans seem to have made up their minds (rightly or wrongly) regarding Matt Cassel and, to some degree, veteran backup Brady Quinn The Stanzi Lust Train is starting to pick up steam again. When you ask the Ohio native if he knows just how popular he's becoming in some parts of town, he shrugs. "I mean, I really don't know anything about that," Stanzi says, grinning ever-so-slightly. "I try to say out of those things, and you know, the (talk about) what's popular. I just go out and just do your job, and practice hard and know what you're expected to do and then just go from there. Be a good teammate." And the dancing? Another grin. "I think that's a rumor," Stanzi says. "That's just a dirty rumor." This isn't: Over the past two weeks of organized team activities (OTAs), the ex-Hawkeye, a fifth-round draft pick in 2011, has been splitting work alongside the second-team offense with Quinn. Of course, this gets Chiefs fans fairly excited, for the reasons mentioned above. "It was nice to have this off-season to get (into) the playbook, obviously, look at all the new formations and the different things that are special to that offense," Stanzi says. "And just to go out there and actually do drops before actual training camp. "Just that simple combination makes a huge difference when you're able to go out there, rep things out. Get a feel for what the offense is mentally before you actually go out there and do it physically." In that sense, Stanzi's a rookie again, and not just because he's learning from scratch a new offense installed by coordinator Brian Daboll. A year ago, he lost all of the traditional rookie spring acclimation period the younger you are, the more valuable May and June are to your development because of the NFL's lockout, forcing a cramming job in July and August once labor peace was at hand. "Yeah, it definitely feels more like, I guess, how a rookie year should feel," says Stanzi, who has yet to appear in an NFL regular-season contest. "You know more people on the team, obviously, from it being your second year, those simple things. But not having an off-season last year, it was just a different thing; you had to adjust to it. This year, (it's my) real first off-season as an NFL player." And his first real off-season opportunity. While we're still in the shorts-and-helmets part of the pro calendar, now's the time to tinker. Stanzi is expected to rotate with Quinn on the second team until somebody settles into a lasting groove. Last Tuesday, scribes walked away from the open practice at Arrowhead Drive talking about Stanzi's arm; On Monday, Quinn appeared to be the sharper of the two. Even if the tempo drags, this is one dance that gets a little more interesting by the day. You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Curt Schilling: Bumgarner's postseason is the best ever

Phil Jackson: Knicks ‘not ready for showtime’

Titans WR: Mettenberger better than Big Ben at same stage

Michael Vick: Starting at QB again is a dream come true

Red Sox to reportedly target Pablo Sandoval in offseason

Alex Rodriguez's season-long MLB ban comes to an end

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

State Farm has hilarious response to recent NFL injuries

WATCH: Michael Jordan trashes President Obama's golf game

GALLERY: Best of sports-themed pumpkins

WATCH: The LeBron Nike spot we've been waiting for

Kobe Bryant’s Wikipedia page listed him with 0-1 MMA record

WATCH: Amar'e sings with Swift for in-arena video bit

WATCH: Randle offers money for massage in jailhouse video

Top storyline for each Week 9 NFL game

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Chiefs News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Curt Schilling praises Bumgarner

GALLERY: Best of sports pumpkins

Top storyline for each Week 9 game

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.